In today’s landscape, more and more Los Angeles investment firms are considering the move to the cloud for pieces of their IT infrastructure.
For the transition to be successful, certain factors need to be taken into account, such as investment focus and the probable acquirers of portfolio management software companies.
But the cloud offers the same benefits for RIAs that it does for other business professionals, and for some it’s being welcomed as a viable alternative to in-house computing functions.
Popularity of Cloud Computing
There are three levels of cloud computing available to the business world: software packages, a platform-based service that can be modified to suit company needs and objectives, and infrastructure arrangement such as storage and dedicated servers. Being browser-based, cloud computing has lower startup costs, a brief implementation period, and offers frequent updates.
- RIAs can access cloud data from any Internet-enabled device.
- Offsite data storage is expandable over time.
- Application management tasks are reduced.
- Budgeting for IT costs is more easily predicted and controlled.
- Disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities can be increased.
In 2012 EzeCastle Integration reported that 8 out of 10 investment firms were using or planning to use the cloud. In a follow-up survey conducted in 2013, the researcher found that 87% of companies were using cloud services for their business needs, such as email, file storage, and even financial application hosting. 24% of respondents indicated that they were using the cloud for services such as disaster recovery solutions or SaaS applications.
How to Make the Move to the Cloud
Investment firms handle sensitive and confidential data, so making the move to the cloud requires the careful selection of a provider. The ideal technology partner should possess all of the following:
- Industry experience: A successful record in the financial services industry, backed by testimonials from clients, is a key indicator.
- Compliance and security capabilities: Strong compliance capability is mandatory for any cloud provider with customers who handle financial transactions. Security is equally important, as the information being stored is highly sensitive.
- Enterprise-style capabilities: The cloud provider must be able to deliver on-demand scalability to accommodate customers as the firm’s business grows. Features such as IP address management, managed backup, configurable firewalls, and image cloning are important assets.
What to Move to the Cloud
Often times, the discussion surrounding a move to the cloud will take on an all or nothing vibe. But the reality is, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Most successful moves start small and scale up. While there are a number of different delivery methods, one of the first is simply moving from an on-premise software application to one hosted in the cloud.
NetSuite is delivered via SaaS (software as a service), as are a number of hosted portfolio management systems. Next we would recommend looking at an email engine hosted in the cloud such as Smarsh or Office 365.
To one degree or another, cloud computing is now a proven, mainstream option for Los Angeles investment firms of all sizes. If done properly, moving to the cloud can save money, enable better business continuity, and ensure the security and integrity of company and client data.
Has your firm made the move to the cloud yet? If so, have you found it to be a change for the better? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, Investing in High Net Worth Clients: The LA Investment Advisor's Guide to Using Technology to Manage and Grow Your Firm.